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What is the P300?

The P300 wave is an event-related potential, measured using EEG. It is a spike in brain activity approximately 300ms following presentation of an infrequent target stimulus, which is alternated with more frequent standard stimuli to create an ‘oddball’ paradigm. The subject must respond only to the infrequent target stimulus. The amplitude of the P300 response is proportional to the amount of attentional resource devoted to the task and the degree of information processing required, while the latency is considered a measure of stimulus classification speed, unrelated to behavioural response time.

What is the evidence for P300 anomalies in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate quality evidence shows large effects of longer P300 latency and lower amplitude in people with bipolar depression compared to controls without a psychiatric disorder. In remitted patients, results remained significant only for longer latency.

Compared to people with unipolar depression, moderate to high quality evidence shows a medium-sized effect of longer P300 latency in people with bipolar depression, with no differences in amplitude. Results were similar in the analyses of remitted patients. The results were larger in studies conducted in China, in studies with over 100 patients, and in studies of unmedicated patients.

April 2019

Last updated at: 4:19 am, 9th April 2019
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